Today is the only 24 hour period that I am away from the terns in two weeks. As such it would be ideal to make the most of it. However, given that the end of an Atlantic storm hit us, which meant birding was greatly restricted. I got out of bed and tried going for a walk, but got half way up Canalside when the rain started, and it did not stop until half 1 in the afternoon.
At this point I took the chance to go for a walk anyway, but the wind was still very uncomfortable and the rain did not hold off for long. I headed up to Canal Scrape to see if there was anything. There was not much, a couple of snipe and the usual Mallards and Coot. There was also a Cormorant sitting near the fence at the back which did not look so good. It was later radioed in, recovered and found to have slit all its innards out on the barbed wire. A tragic end really, as the bird had to be put down.
I then wandered up alongside Clubleys, up along the coast back to the warren. At this point the rain decided to hit hard, and it became mightily unpleasant. I would have raced straight back, but I flushed a spurn lifer for me, when a Wheatear jumped out of the grass in front of me and vanished round the corner. I spent a little too long looking for it, with limited success. I was able to confirm, however, that it was indeed a Northern Wheatear and not some vagrant species.
When the rain next broke I headed up to the Seawatching hide for a bit. I started at 4.45 and ended at 7.30, far longer than I had anticipated I would stay. Since my ability to I.d. comic terns is limited when in Seawatching I started to count the waders heading south. In the time I was there we had decent numbers; 108 Knot, 20 Oystercatcher, 45 Sanderling, 55 Dunlin, 11 Ringed Plover, 7 Turnstone and 27 Whimbrel. We also had 12 Common Scoter, 5 Fulmar, 1 Med Gull, 1 Great Skua, 2 Eider and plenty of Swifts. The Eider is another Spurn tick for me. The tern passage was not as good tonight, but that’s probably as a result of the terrible weather conditions causing them to be later.
I gave up at half 7 to make some dinner before my shift. It was already quite dark when I arrived at my shift but was unable to watch any birds because I realised I left my torch at the warren. When I returned to pick it up I proceeded to drop it, from which it did not recover. Tonight’s shift has not been a good one. Add to that the fox running along the beach and it looks even grimmer.
The Daily Oystercatcher
Alas that I did not see these birds today due to my none-presence at beacon ponds. I can only hope that they are holding out in this weather.
Canal Scrape: Mallard, Coot, Snipe, Sedge Warbler, Cormorant, Common Snipe, Swallow, Sand Martin, Linnet, Greater Black-Backed Gull,
Seawatching: Knot, Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Sandwich Tern, Gannet, Fulmar, Sanderling, Dunlin, Mediterranean Gull, Ringed Plover, Great Skua, Common Scoter, Woodpigeon, Turnstone, Grey Plover, Whimbrel, Swift, Eider, Black-Headed Gull, Greater Black-Backed Gull, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Swallow, Sand Martin, Grey Seal,